Catching Supergirl in the Phantom Zone in the season 6 premiere was inspired by the plot of the original 1984 film starring series co-star Helen Slater.

Featuring Kara Zor-El’s trip to the Phantom Zone in its season 6 premiere, Supergirl honors the character’s rich history by recreating an integral part of the plot from the original 1984 film. The movement completes the circle of Girl of Steel film and television stories by solidifying their connection. In the original film, a young actress by the name of Helen Slater (who now plays TV Supergirl’s adoptive mother Eliza Danvers) received her first major role when she was cast as Kara Zo-El / Supergirl. By choosing this story to start your final season, Supergirl is paying tribute to both Slater and the movie that started Supergirl’s journey on screen.

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The concept of the Kryptonian Phantom Zone as an intergalactic prison has been used as main plot points in Superman and Supergirl comics and movies since its inception in 1961. In the 1984 film about the Girl of Steel, Kara is banished to the Phantom Zone by the evil witch Selena. While there, the young superhero recovers thanks to the guidance of her beloved teacher, the scientist Zaltar, who had been sent there for crimes related to the Omegahedron. From him, she learns that there is a way out of the Zone called the Rift.

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The Arrowverse’s Supergirl has traveled the Phantom Zone before. His original journey to Earth was interrupted for 24 years when his ship veered off course for the Zone. She was freed that time by Indigo, who tried to escape from her prison. This time, it was a last-minute desperate attempt by Lex Luthor to kill her that sent Supergirl into the Phantom Zone. No matter how long or short Kara’s stay in the Phantom Zone is, it is infinitely likely that the show will honor the original Supergirl movie by having Kara Zor-El emerge from the ordeal as a stronger and wiser superhero.

While the Phantom Zone is known to haunt Kara’s mind, the show could give Kara her version of mentor / protector and guide to freedom in some form from her father, Zor-El. Kara could use the opportunity to confront him about his disappointing past, such as the creation of the Kryptonian virus that he struggled with in previous seasons. After all, Roswell Actor Jason Behr has been cast as Kara’s father, described as coming to her aid at a time when things are out of his control.

In another nod to the movie, the show could make the key to freeing Supergirl from the Phantom Zone some kind of rift. In the movie, the powerless Supergirl regains her strength due to the yellow sun shining through the Rift and flies to freedom. If he Arrowverse Kara’s friends or herself can open a rift in the Phantom Zone, the light could reach her and recharge her powers so that Supergirl can break free. No matter how she escapes, Supergirl will be changed and tested like never before during her time in the Phantom Zone. Any unresolved fears or regrets from her past or present will be used against her, requiring Kara to overcome them to survive, promising many powerful growth moments for the main character.

SupergirlSeason 6’s decision to banish Melissa Benoist’s Kara Zor El to the Phantom Zone is a gesture of respect for her character’s history. It is fitting that the show pays tribute to both the original film and Supergirl her co-star Helen Slater at the launch of her final season. Kara Zor El’s Journey of the Arrowverse begins its ending with a story that recalls the character’s cinematic roots and uses that very tale to establish an exciting litmus test through which she will be reborn.

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